Here in the United States, white teeth signify good dental hygiene and increase the attractiveness of your smile. While it’s known that various foods and beverages can stain your teeth and that not taking care of your teeth will lead to them turning darker yellows and even browns, blue or grey teeth aren’t so common.
As such, if you have blue or grey teeth, you may be alarmed and not know what this means. You may not know what to do, aside from go to the dentist.
Here is what you need to know about common causes for blue or grey teeth and what your options for treatment are.
Blue Or Grey Teeth Can Be Natural
Dental trauma is the most common cause of a grey tooth. However, your teeth can also naturally be blue or grey.
A healthy tooth can be anything from light yellow to light grey. It depends on the color of the dentin and the color of the enamel. Dentin is naturally yellow while enamel is slightly blue and translucent. Teeth can naturally change color as we age, due to enamel becoming thinner, showing more of the dentin’s color.
Your teeth can also turn blue or grey. This can result from extrinsic stains or intrinsic stains, such as from disorders, medications, trauma, and more.
Blue or grey teeth can be one singular tooth or all of them. Generally speaking, if all of your teeth are blue or grey, it’s likely that this is more of a cosmetic problem. This can result from staining, aging, or an issue during tooth development. You’ll still want to see your dentist regularly, to be sure you don’t have any underlying problems.
However, if one tooth turns blue or grey, this can be a sign of a serious dental problem. This is especially true if the color change happens fairly quickly.
What Causes Blue Or Grey Teeth?
If your teeth haven’t always been blue or grey or one or two specific teeth rapidly changed color, you likely have a serious dental problem on your hands. This color change can result from a variety of factors.
Some of the causes of blue or grey teeth include:
- Anything that cuts off blood flow to the tooth, resulting in tooth death.
- Restorations, especially metal showing through enamel or porcelain. This is more common with old restorations. They can be replaced for a more natural appearance.
- Tetracycline. This is an antibiotic and the most probable cause for children under 8. Blue or grey teeth can happen if the mother took it during pregnancy. If this is why your teeth are blue or grey, your teeth often bleach differently, so veneers or crowns may give better results
- Dentinogenesis imperfecta. This is a hereditary disorder that weakens teeth.
Your dentist will assess your teeth to determine the cause. They’ll do this with an examination and X-rays. They may also do a pulp test for necrosis.
About Dead Teeth
When your tooth pulp dies, the tooth can turn grey, purple, pink, dark yellow, or even black. This is because the degradation process of dead tissue can produce variety of colors. Dead teeth appear noticeably darker from their original color, so if you have one tooth that’s always been a bit darker than the others, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a problem.
Teeth can die from tooth trauma. They can also die from infection, like untreated cavities. A change in tooth color can be a sign that the tooth is dying. It can put other teeth at risk through bacteria spreading.
Dead teeth are usually treated with root canals to remove dead pulp. If the tooth cannot be saved, it may be extracted.
A root canal won’t make a dead tooth white again because of the pigmented molecules in the hard tooth structure. As such, you can ask your dentist about internal tooth bleaching. They can do this immediately after your root canal treatment.
If you have substantial loss of your hard tooth structure, this can necessitate a crown. Dentists match the color of crowns to your existing teeth, so you will no longer have one that is blue or grey while the others are a natural color.
Treatment Options For Blue Or Grey Teeth
While whitening is best for yellow teeth, whether or not it can help with blue or grey teeth depends on the shade and cause. If your tooth is blue or gray internally, external treatments won’t make a difference. If it’s external, whitening treatments can help. If whitening doesn’t work, your dentist may recommend other options, like veneers.
Do not ignore blue or grey teeth. Infections can be very dangerous, spreading not just to other teeth, but also to the bloodstream, brain, airway, and more.
If discoloration is your only symptom, it’s likely not an emergency. When coupled with swelling around tooth, pain, pus drainage, and the like, though, you want to seek treatment as soon as possible. This can indicate the infection has spread into the jawbone.
Even if your blue or grey tooth is not yet an emergency, it can turn into one. Don’t risk an emergency situation. See the dentist if you have a tooth that’s blue or grey for appropriate treatment.
Seeing your dentist regularly can help catch problems early on and reduce your risk of emergency situations. If you experience dental trauma, you can seek emergency dental care so that it’s treated as quickly as possible.
About Self-Treating Blue Or Grey Teeth
If you have blue or grey teeth, you may be tempted to use at-home whitening treatments. While some of these can help, you want to be careful with OTC whitening treatments. They could end up damaging your teeth due to overuse, improper use, or the ingredients in the treatment.
It’s best to get professional teeth whitening, for both safer and better results.
VIP Smiles provides professional teeth whitening services, in addition to other dental services. If you have blue or grey teeth, see us as soon as possible for treatment. We will be able to tell you whether it’s simply part of aging and provide you with whitening or whether it’s a serious problem that needs treatment as soon as possible.